Food & Drink in Utica

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The chefs at Mitsuba Hibachi Steakhouse & Asian Bistro dazzle the senses with fresh sushi and sashimi, inventive Asian-fusion cuisine, and the fiery theatrics of tableside hibachi cooking. Plates of roasted duck, hawaiian curry shrimp, and fried sea bass blend culinary influences from all over the globe, and noodle dishes of yaki soba, udon, and pad thai deliver the celebrated and complex flavors of Japan and Southeast Asia. A classy, cosmopolitan interior of slate bricks, paper-lantern light fixtures, and glossy varnished wood sets the stage for a visual feast served by the restaurant’s hibachi chefs, who illicit awe as they chop at lightning-fast speeds and perform gasp-inducing fire tricks without singeing away their eyebrows.

8562 Seneca Tpke
New Hartford,
NY
US

Nestled behind the Stanley Theatre, Thornberry's Backstage concocts delectable cuisine that sates theatergoers chowing down before or after a show. Originally called Thornberry's upon its 1995 opening, father-and-son team Robert Sullivan, Sr. and Rob Sullivan, Jr. dispensed lunch and dinnertime cuisine until 2010. After a one-year hiatus, the restaurant reopened in November 2011 with an updated name, refurbished décor, brand-new toilet paper, and a revamped menu. Doors open to welcome feasters at 5 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday as the aroma of homemade desserts wafts through the dining quarters. Thornberry's Backstage also cooks up grub on holidays such as Valentine's Day and Mother's Day as well as any night that the Stanley Theatre hosts an event, which has included performances from Beatlemania and Lord of the Dance.

1011 King Street
Utica,
NY
US

At the helm of Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant?s kitchen is a chef with more than 28 years perfecting his craft. The chef?s range of Indian recipes is exhaustive, from aloo dum?stuffed potatoes cooked in a light spicy sauce?to chicken kali mirch simmered in a curry sauce. The kitchen?s tandoor clay oven cooks marinated shrimp, lamb, and stuffed breads at a temperature high enough to reshape the hairstyle of anyone who gets too close.

60 Genesee St
New Hartford,
NY
US

The Lake House’s chefs create innovative seafood plates and hearty steaks as diners take in lakeside views from the interior of an historic hotel built in 1843. Scan the menu before electing upscale eats such as pumpkin-seed-encrusted trout filets in sherry cream ($16.99) or pan-seared hunter’s ducks dressed in a pear-and-peppercorn au jus ($22.99). Chefs stuff the Lake House bone-in pork chop with an autumnal mélange of apples, onions, blue cheese, and cloud bacon before tossing it on the grill and drenching it in an apple-cider glaze ($17.99). Dinner diners sink meat fangs into a New York strip steak’s side ($19.99), and luncheon guests peruse burgers and sandwiches such as the grilled-chicken cordon bleu, which sports ham, swiss cheese, and a jaunty monocle atop its grilled roll ($8.99). Lounge on the patio facing the lake or illumine meals indoors with the light of Tiffany-style stained-glass table lamps.

2521 County Highway 22
Richfield Springs,
NY
US

Executive chef William Chen deftly wields his over 10 years of culinary experience as he crafts edible works of art at Mitsuba. Plates arrive at tables carefully layered with sushi rolls such as the colorful Mitsuba lobster roll, consisting of tempura lobster, avocado, mango, and marinated crabmeat. The Christmas roll, made up of fried shrimp, spicy tuna, and caviar, is a much better holiday treat than a visit from a money-seeking relative, and it comes with an eye-catching flower garnish. For cooked comestibles, diners need look no further than their own hibachi tables, which double as fiery surfaces upon which chefs sizzle filet mignon, salmon, and scallops.

17 Ellinwood Dr
New Hartford,
NY
US

Utica Scene